Your Mom Did; She Had It Coming

If our current health care system is unsustainable, then reform is a necessity. The question should be not whether we should reform health care but how best to do it. Given that other countries do a better job at less than half the cost, there really isn't any sound reason to oppose reform – just lack of awareness among the general public - and politics, ideology and spite from reform opponents

Will The Adults Keep Control?

(Test post 11/26/11 for a new blog -- please ignore)

The Idaho Republican Party is coming up on a legislative session and subsequent election that could determine their direction for years to come. The battle, as it is elsewhere in the country, is between the more Libertarian/State’s Rights wing of the party and the establishment (hereafter referred to, in the preferred language of the insurgents, as “RINOs” – Republicans in Name Only). Were one to only look at the Idaho GOP platform adopted in 2010, an outside observer might think that the extremists had already won; the platform calls for, among other interesting ideas, the repeal of the 17th Amendment and returning to the gold standard.

It’s one thing for party activists to adopt a bold party platform, but another for the more reasonable members of said party to actually vote for it when their actions may be noticed by the wider public. In the two examples noted above, many Idaho Republican legislators failed to follow through when given the opportunity to cast a vote in favor of these two principles, despite the “loyalty oath” also included in the new platform: the House State Affairs committee failed to advance a “repeal the 17th” bill, and a “sound money” bill failed to even get a motion from the same body. That these elements of the Idaho GOP platform were too extreme for the Idaho House is telling (or, more likely, too potentially embarrassing to open for public debate), since it’s normally the Senate that was counted on to act as the “adult” last session. (The House actually passed the Health Care Nullification law only to see it shot down in the Senate committee.) This proves that there’s a disconnect between some of the more extreme Idaho Republican partisans and the elected officials of their party – the “adults” of the Idaho GOP are willing to say one thing and do another when the more extreme theories of the new Idaho GOP orthodoxy are put to the test of the real world.

Idaho freshman Congressman Raul Labrador filled out the questionnaire for TEA Party Boise before the 2010 election, and, with two exceptions, pledged or committed to carry out everything on their checklist – even the items that were clearly delusional. When the rubber met the road, however, Rep. Labrador decided that there were times when real world political considerations outweighed his “pledge” to work to enact a theory. He voted for at least one bill that hadn’t been “published on the web for at least 7 days prior to the vote”, and still hasn’t posted a list of “all campaign donations on your website, including date, name of parent organization as well as the donating entity, and the amount of the donation”. I don’t blame him for his actions in these cases; where House rules only require 3 days posting of bills and FEC rules only require disclosure of donations of $200 or more, it would be silly to go beyond that. I would, however, hold him accountable were he to make the same ridiculous pledges next year.

So where does this leave the Idaho Republican Party? While the case could be made that the 45% of primary voters who voted for someone other than Butch Otter in the May 2010 primary are the forefront of a potential wave of disaffected “True Republicans” who will overthrow the RINOs and lead the way back to the 1850s, I think that the powers that be will do whatever it takes to limit the extremists to a few planks in the Party platform and will let them win a few symbolic votes in the Legislature for bills that either have no effect or will quickly be thrown out by the courts. They know that the only way the Republican Party can lose their stranglehold on Idaho politics is to give control to the most extreme members of the party (the 26% who voted for Rex Rammell in May 2010) and watch the moderate voters desert the party in droves when the main accomplishment of a future legislature is to enable citizens to pay their property taxes in gold or silver coinage or all their legislators follow the lead of Rammell and declare themselves de jure citizens. The upcoming session will be a good barometer of how far the “adults” are willing to let the insurgents go, and if failure to enact the more extreme elements of the party platform will energize the extremists to actually vote out some of the RINOs in the primary. It should be fun to watch – as long as they don’t actually pass any bills that would irrevocably hurt the citizens of our state.

USS Georgia Visits Bahrain

USS Georgia (SSGN 729) became the first Ohio-class submarine to operate in the Arabian Gulf during her current deployment. Here's a story from Fifth Fleet about their port call in Bahrain, and here's a blog entry by CAPT Brian McIlvaine (my old XO) describing the port visit.

Back during the Bush Administration, stories like this would have brought the "we're about to attack Iran" crowd to screaming levels of hysterics. I wonder if any of them are now willing to admit, given that we never did attack Iran before President Bush left office, that they were wrong in thinking that President Bush was purely evil, and are maybe even willing to entertain the idea that he was actually a man who had the best interests of the country at heart, even if they disagree with him on how to achieve what was best for the country?

Banned Books Week 2009

Blue Gal reminds me it's Banned Book Week. I'm obviously scattered, since I normally try to do something special for it each year. If nothing else, browse through the "Banned Books" category, since I did a fair amount of blogging on it last year. And if you happen to post on Banned Books Week, especially about a book you've read for the occasion, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.

Mew - "Beach" and "Comforting Sounds"

The Wiki entry on Danish band Mew has more about them. "Beach" is from their new album. The video is a fan-made piece using clips from the French film Rumba, which I haven't seen, but it seems to work really well. (Driouxcipher passes on the official video for "Repeaterbeater" from the same album). "Comforting Sounds" was released in 2003, although the performance appears to be in the past few

Skimmer CJCS Supports Women On Submarines

According to this Fox News article, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ADM Michael Mullen (a known skimmer) has come out in support of women on submarines in written testimony to Congress:
Female sailors can broaden their role in the Navy by serving on submarines, an activity currently prohibited by the Armed Service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has advised the Senate Armed Services Committee...
..."I believe we should continue to broaden opportunities for women. One policy I would like to see changed is the one barring their service aboard submarines," he added... reported that Mullen, a former chief of naval operations and a surface warfare officer, wrote his endorsement of women serving in subs in his response to questions submitted by senators preparing for Mullen's confirmation hearing for a second term as chairman of the JCS. That hearing was held Sept. 15...
...Mullen spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby told the Web site that the chairman had previously asked the Navy to look into overturning the rule, but did not want to get too involved in managing the force.
More on ADM Mullen's comments can be found here. My thoughts are that it's a change that's going to happen eventually, but with the submarines we have now, it's not the right time. Due to berthing constraints, you'd really need to design a whole new class of submarine to handle female berthing, and you'd have to go into it knowing that you'd be reducing combat effectiveness in order to do it. (Because, no matter what, the extra space you'd need for extra berthing compartments could be better used for combat or survivability systems.) And, for those who say we need it to keep "manning" numbers up, being co-ed sure hasn't helped our Aussie allies in that regard.

What do you think? Will we see women serving as permanent crew members aboard U.S. submarines before January 2013?

Update 1641 24 Sep: The new SecNav is also supporting women on submarines, according to this Navy Times article. He doesn't know yet that he has no actual power to make policy in the face of opposition from Naval Reactors. He'll soon learn.

Update 0916 26 Sep: There are several more news articles on this controversy, including this one in the San Diego Union-Tribune that mentions the comments in this thread.

Update 2322 05 Oct: Here's an article in the Honolulu Advertiser that says the change is a done deal, and that women will start showing up on Ohio-class boats in 2011. Not sure I believe it.

More Proof That Torture Doesn't Work

Torture is immoral, illegal, and does not "work" reliably at all if one wants accurate intelligence - in fact, humane and legal methods are significantly more effective. Sure, torture is great for inflicting pain, producing false confessions and terrorizing populations, but the truth-to-lies-because-oh-my-god-make -the-pain-stop ratio is pretty shitty. I would hope this was common knowledge by

USS Texas Departs Groton

Check out this artful photo of USS Texas (SSN 775) departing Groton for her new homeport of Pearl Harbor:

As they're transiting, the Navy is holding its first Senior Enlisted Continuation Board, whereby E-7 through E-9s with more than 20 years of service and 3 years time in grade will be evaluated to see if they can continue serving on active duty; those that aren't will have to retire by the end of next June. So what do you think: is this a good idea that will "reinvigorate the Chief's Mess", or another way the Navy will lose more experienced leaders? (Personally, I think it sounds like a good plan, as long as they're really telling the truth that there aren't any quotas for how many have to be let go.)

Save the Needy Insurance Companies

Protect Insurance Companies PSA from Will FerrellOn that misspelling thing? The teabaggers are in real trouble. (You probably will want to zoom in on the collage.) (Hat tip to DDay and Chicher.)

Talk Like a Pirate Day 2009

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day! You can read more here. As in a past year, I'm going to take a scurvy dog with delusions of grandeur:And translate him:Does sacred honor e'en exist in Washington anymore? On accoun' o' I ratted ou' a self-avowed Communist in th' administration in Van Jones, th' same organizations, th' same politicians, th' same progressive media that be ignorin' or

Australian Submariners Get Bravery Medal

Last month, the Australian Navy reported that three Submariners had been awarded the Bravery Medal for their actions aboard HMAS Farncomb (SSG 74) in 2007. Today, The Australian has two articles the describe the actions for which they were awarded, here and here. Excerpts:
As Petty Officer Langshaw was trying to undress his stricken crewmate, the sub was heaving up and down in the choppy seas. He was slammed against the side of the boat several times, breaking one of his ribs.
He and Leading Seaman Rowell eventually lifted their exhausted crewmate on to the sub, but the effort meant all three men were spent.
With four men still bobbing in the ocean, a new volunteer swimmer was needed.
Chief Petty Officer Rohan Pugh put up his hand. The 40-year-old Pugh was a veteran lifesaver and father of two from the coastal town of Secret Harbour, south of Perth.
Knowing time was running out for a safe rescue as the conditions worsened, Petty Officer Pugh did not bother with a wetsuit.
Instead, he put on his Speedos with Secret Harbour written on them, slipped on some fins, hopped out of the hatch and into the swirling ocean.
He said he didn't think twice about the risks.
"We're all mates plus we just go and do it," he said.
By this stage, the swell had risen to about two metres and the men had been in the water for more than an hour.
Please read the whole story of the rescue of the five Submariners who went overboard while trying to clear a fouled screw. To CPO Rohan Pugh, PO Greg Langshaw and LS Steven Rowell: Good On Ya, 'Mates.

Peter, Paul and Mary - "500 Miles"

I saw Peter, Paul and Mary perform a few times, and my mom and one of my brothers saw Peter and Paul perform just last month. Mary was not doing well. As late as the early 90s, they would still join in demonstrations and get arrested, too. Years back, I remember listening to their version of this song over and over to figure out their harmonies. It's a very pretty rendition, even haunting,

Five Years Of Sub-Blogging Goodness

Five years ago today, when I was on terminal leave from the Navy, I started The Stupid Shall Be Punished with this post. Now, 2350 posts and over 2.5 million page views later, I celebrate my five year blogiversary. Thanks to all my readers and commenters for making this blog what it is.

This blog has definitely changed in character over the years. As I've run out of non-classified sea stories I can tell, it's become more of a forum where I provide a general topic and the commenters generate most of the interesting content. I'm generally happy with this new direction, but feel somewhat saddened when I think that my best writing is probably behind me. Still, I'll keep plugging along, providing insight into submarine news that happens to make it into the mainstream media, occasional political opinions, and hopefully get back to doing some more movie reviews. I can't promise anything, but I'm certainly hoping to keep this thing going as long as anyone is interested in what I have to say. As I've frequently said, this blog provides a forum for me to keep my foot in the door of the Submarine Force that I love. {/navel gazing}

Thanks again for reading and commenting; I couldn't do it without you.

Body Of Taiwanese Submarine Captain Found

The body of Chen Chi-tsung, CO of the Taiwanese submarine Hai Lung (SS 793), was recovered from the sea today. Captain Chen was washed overboard from the sail of his submarine on Monday:
Over a 1,000 Navy personnel, dozens of vessels and chopper sorties were deployed in the two-day search for Chen, who was swept off the submarine Hai Lung's sail, the tower-like structure of the vessel, during a training exercise Monday. Chen was not wearing a life jacket or attached to a safety hook at the time. Chen's body was found at 7:42 a.m. in waters 3.1 nautical miles southwest of the naval port in Zuoying. At 8:02 a.m., a rescue vessel reclaimed the body and verified it as the deceased submarine skipper.
The Hai Lung is a modified Zwaardvis-class submarine of Dutch manufacture, which is based on the old U.S. Barbel-class boats.

The loss of any Submariner is cause for sadness, but seeing a boat loses their skipper is especially heart-rending. Sailor, Rest Your Oar.

Moral Adolescence and Leftism

This blogger reveals fascinating research on morality and ideology:
With research in the field of moral psychology as a guide, we may discover that the split between the so-called “liberal” and “conservative” mindsets derives from a paradigm we already understand quite well.

Haidt: Ideology and the Moral Mind

The ideological key described above comes from what may seem an unlikely source: a self-described atheist and liberal academic – moral psychology researcher and U. Va. Associate Professor Jonathan Haidt. Through extensive research, Haidt and his colleagues have characterized notions of morality, and have quantified how these notions are expressed differently across various cultures and ideological groups. That expression, as Haidt’s and others’ research shows, is directed by a complex facet of our psyche which he calls our moral mind.
Professor Haidt explains his motivations -- they are not the typical ones often used to attempt to paint conservatism as a mental disorder:
If Democrats want to understand what makes people vote Republican, they must first understand the full spectrum of American moral concerns. They should then consider whether they can use more of that spectrum themselves. … Unity is not the great need of the hour, it is the eternal struggle of our immigrant nation. The three Durkheimian foundations of ingroup, authority, and purity are powerful tools in that struggle. Until Democrats understand this point, they will be vulnerable to the seductive but false belief that Americans vote for Republicans primarily because they have been duped into doing so.
The work of Haidt's group can be found here. Haidt's thesis in a nutshell is:
In brief, the theory proposes that five innate and universally available psychological systems are the foundations of “intuitive ethics.” Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too. The foundations are:

1) Harm/care, related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. This foundation underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.

2) Fairness/reciprocity, related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. This foundation generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy.

3) Ingroup/loyalty, related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. This foundation underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."

4) Authority/respect, shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. This foundaiton underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.

5) Purity/sanctity, shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. This foundation underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

Much of our present research involves applying the theory to political "cultures" such as those of liberals and conservatives. The current American culture war, we have found, can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying almost exclusively on the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity foundations; conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all five foundations, including Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity.
You can take your own test, and contribute to the research, here.

But back to Haidt's observation, here is a chart of the priority placed on the different types of morality by leftists vs. conservatives:

The blogger elucidates:
The first striking aspect is, of course, the wide separation at the liberal end of the spectrum, where the intuitive ethics of Harm and Fairness completely dominate the liberal definition of morality. The second striking aspect is how closely all five ethical foundations are grouped together at the conservative end of the spectrum.

Third – and striking primarily because these are the two areas of ethics most commonly cited by liberals, as indicative of conservative “heartlessness”, “corporate greed”, etc. – is the fact that while conservatives certainly associate Harm and Fairness with morality less strongly than liberals, the difference just isn’t really all that great on the overall scale.

Possibly the most critical aspect of the phenomenon exhibited in the graphic above is that Haidt, et al., see this same distribution in every culture they examine. Clearly, this is not an American or even a Western Culture phenomenon, but one grounded in basic human nature and, thus, driven by the rules of human psychological development.

The Nature of Moral Adolescence

Analyzing the data collected by Haidt, et al., and the amazing consistency he sees across various cultures in this regard, we recognize a number of critical points. First, we see that an individual’s political ideology is directly related to their definition of morality. Meanwhile, a moral mind which values only two of the five intuitive moral foundations has a strong affinity for the liberal notions of “social justice” and “fairness” as expressed in the collectivist ideologies of Marxism and socialism. Furthermore, a moral mind which values all five intuitive ethics in a holistic, comprehensive way is drawn to the conservative tenets of classical liberalism, as expressed in republicanism, individual liberty, right to property and capitalism, for instance.

Most importantly, in light of the first element noted up above, regarding the manner in which our morality evolves as we mature, we see that these two viewpoints – liberal and conservative – are clear expressions of moral adolescence and moral maturity, respectively. While Haidt avoids making this observation, this difference is the great insight his work provides. This is the Rosetta Stone needed to understand the fundamental difference between liberal and conservative views.
The blogger goes on to discuss why, therefore, it's useless to try to reason with or compromise with leftists as if they weren't adolescents -- instead they are to be educated:
In fact, outside the framework of scientific research in the realm of common experience, most conservatives – especially those frustrated with the downward slide our Republic has taken over the past 70-odd years – are likely to see moral adolescence as a perfect explanation for why an intellectually, physically and chronologically mature adult can espouse a political ideology that would only appeal to an adolescent with no life experience and no understanding of history. Furthermore, the appeal to ridicule fallacies, overwhelming and unnecessary use of profanity and tantrum-like behavior exhibited by many adult liberals certainly fits the notion of adolescent behavior.

In truth, for all those reasons and more, there are probably very few politically-aware conservatives who haven’t long ago viewed leftist ideologues as adolescents. Up to now however, there was no clear social science to support this view. That’s changed.
Great discussion there on the breakdown of education at the root of this cultural war -- read it all! Plenty of links, and a video of Haidt speaking on the topic as well.

Keep in mind that "moral adolescence is not Haidt's term; rather, he is interested in getting progressives to avoid groupthink in assuming conservatives are just dumb or misled, but instead have a well-defined different way of thinking. The key to his research is that humans are not born as moral blank slates, but across cultures have these five innate moral concerns, which can be shaped by experience.

And Haidt points out that the apparently "repressive" aspects of authority, ingroup, and purity in the conservative moral compass are there for an important reason -- namely, to maintain civilization -- which is a very tricky thing indeed, the difficulty of which leftists underestimate to the peril of us all. He supports this with social research into how group cooperation quickly disintegrates without some kind of punishment or other motivational mechanism (i.e. the conservative aspects of morality), and then we'd all be living in a Hobbesian chaos.

Interestingly, this other site also seems to have developed the notion of modern liberalism as a form of adolescent immaturity -- or in other words, a lack of understanding of the difficulty in building and maintaining a civilization, because all of its bounty was bestowed upon them semmingly without effort, when in fact it was created with enormous difficulty and is truly a miracle. They did not have to struggle to build it, nor did they vicariously partake in its construction through a proper education of traditional liberal arts -- too many "dead white males", apparently:
Under the creed of modern liberalism, the individual citizen is not called to maturity but is instead invited to begin a second childhood. Like the child at play, he is given, or at least promised, ultimate economic, social and political security without having to assume responsibility for himself. The liberal agenda requires him to remain in an artificial environment--the daycare program of the grandiose state--where he need not become an adult, take responsibility for his own welfare, nor cooperate with others to achieve what the state will give him for nothing.
Grow up and learn something!

Congratulations To The Newly Frocked CPOs

If I remember right, September 15th is the day that the new Chief Petty Officers put on their new uniforms. An important day for the Navy's newest crop of leaders.

Now, it seems that CPO transition is a very organized process. Back in my earlier days in the Navy, it wasn't so much. Do any of you have any stories from the "old days" of Chief's initiation? (I remember my uncle telling me that he was required to put an olive in the martini glass of his "judge" without using his arms, feet, or mouth -- leaving only one body part that could hold and move such an object. He says he didn't fart during the task, so the olive didn't smell too bad.)

9/11, Service and the New McCarthyism

Another 9/11 has come and gone. I've done remembrances and reflections in years past. There was nothing good about 9/11 itself, but there was much that was admirable in the reaction to it from average citizens. This year, responding to a citizen campaign, President Obama designated 9/11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance, which seemed like a simple, good and relatively innocuous idea.

Larry Gelbart (1928-2009)

(LA Times photo)The brilliant comedy writer Larry Gelbart has died at the age of 81. He's probably best known for his work on the first four years of the TV show MASH, for co-writing Tootsie, and for co-writing the book for the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Among many other credits, he was part of Sid Caesar's legendary group of writers. He wrote a memoir, Laughing

Never Forget

Your Weekly Snark (and Insight)

We'll kick things off with Blue Gal:By the way, you know it's a bad day for Boehner when a GOP lawmaker bragging in front of a hot mic about sex spanking a lobbyist is NOT the worst thing to happen to the party all day. Truth and politeness are often at odds, and when it comes to important matters, I think the truth should normally win. So I largely agree with Thers in his post, "I Think You're

Submarine Pranks And Unintended Consequences

I always loved good-natured pranks, but found that as the Eng I had to be very careful about not going too far. When I was doing NewCon on Connecticut, we had an electrician get a mild shock; he tagged it out correctly, and verified there was no AC voltage. Unfortunately, since this was new construction, the shipyard had hooked it up wrong, and there was a live DC line going into the cabinet, so he got bit. We filled out the Safety Center report and all the electricians learned to check for both types of voltage until the rest of the time we were in the yards.

When the next compilation of incidents message came out from the Navy Safety Center just as I was writing my Night Orders, I decided to have some fun with it. I printed out the message and put it in Word, then added a "bonus" lesson learned at the end that went something like this:

"Last but not least, on one new construction submarine, some EM was so stupid that he got shocked by DC in an AC cabinet. What a maroon! Only the dumbest electricians could get shocked by the wrong type of voltage..."

I sent the Night Orders down to the boat, and about 15 minutes later got a call from the EDO saying that we had some pretty pissed-off nukes down there. I explained what happened, and he got everyone calmed down. When I came in the next morning, my desk and chair were a mass of EB Green.

Anyone have any good stories about pranks you've seen that have gone awry?

Remote Area Medical

DDay and others have mentioned this, and a few blogs have posted this over the past year or so. But if you haven't seen this 60 Minutes piece on Remote Area Medical, originally from March 2008, check it out. Seeing The English Surgeon made me think of it again. Watch CBS Videos Online"We are the wealthiest nation in the world, and we don't take care of our own."

The English Surgeon

Last week on KCRW radio show The Treatment, Elvis Mitchell spoke with Geoffrey Smith about his documentary, The English Surgeon. It was a fascinating discussion, the film has gotten great reviews, and it happens to be appearing on P.O.V. tonight on PBS in some areas. Be warned it's not for the squeamish, though, since the documentary involves brain surgery. (I'll be watching it tonight.) You

Happy Labor Day

Sarah Guthrie and Arlo Guthrie - "Union Maid"This fan video was made back in 2006, hence the shots of John Edwards. The song was written by Woody Guthrie. The labor movement has given average people many things over the years, including weekends, eight-hour days and benefits. In America, the labor movement could really use a resurgence. But thanks to all those for fought to benefit the greater

Submarine Wives -- An Appreciation

As I look back over the two dozen years I've now been married to my wife, it makes me think about what a truly amazing group faithful Submarine Wives are in general. Whether it's holding down the home front during our frequent absences to dealing with the amine-saturated clothes when we get back to raising money and awareness for worthy causes, Submarine Wives are a more important part of the success of the Sub Force than we sometimes realize. What we do know, of course, is that they are the center of our homes and our lives, and those of us lucky enough to have a good one would be much diminished without them.

Thank you, Laurie, for sticking with me during these last 24 wonderful years. Thanks for the strength you showed when you had to go through trials when I wasn't there, and thanks for providing me with three wonderful children -- the youngest of which I first saw through the periscope when he was a three weeks old. Here's to many, many more (years, not children).

The Government Can!

Franken and the Crowd

Al Franken has engaged people with differing view like this, and done his homework, for a long time now. Those are key reasons why I like the guy and think he may do very well in the Senate.

Sea Levels

More context for the boondoggle known as climate change.

Rising sea levels a sign of runaway global warming, which will doom us all?

For some perspective, a longer-term chart:

An observer makes these cogent remarks about the graph:

As it happens, the IPCC does present a chart of sea levels and its trend is more obvious than the temperature trend. It shows a steady rise of about 200 millimeters in the last 120 years. That's about eight inches. Is eight inches over 120 years significant or alarming?
First, look at the vertical scale. It ranges over about 120 meters (not millimeters), about 400 feet. On the page you see this graph, a change of 200 millimeters (or the change in the last 120 years per the IPCC) would be would be about the width of your eyelash. When the seas were 400 feet lower, people could walk from Russia to Alaska and from France to England.

We engineers have a saying: measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe. That saying is meant to put things in perspective for young engineers who like to calculate things out to the number of digits visible on their calculators.

Global warmists are taking their micrometer, literally, to the last 120 years on this chart, an area that would probably fit in the upper rightmost dot on that chart. And from that, extrapolating that we are all about to die.

I no longer need to squint my eyes to see a one degree per century trend in a cloud of noisy data. The trends are stark. Thus, my epiphany.

If sea levels go along with global temperatures, as the warmists frequently remind us, then this chart makes blatantly obvious that

-- Man has just about nothing to do with global temperatures,
-- Any temperature changes in the last 100 years are insignificant compared to longer term changes,
-- And current trends are most likely just the final flattening out of temperatures after rising from the last ice age.

How can you blame man for sea levels rising when about 99% of that rise since the last ice age occurred before man built the pyramids, much less SUVs? A rise in sea level over the last century should not be surprising; it's been rising for the last 20,000 years.
More inconvenient questions from this author:
I've seen graphs of temperatures, such as the so-called "global" temperature. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, presents such a graph in its "Summary for Policy Makers." While this graph does present to the eyeball a rising trend, one could ask several questions.

The total range of temperatures is within plus or minus half a degree Centigrade. Are we sure we are seeing a true trend and not just randomness?

The total range of time is about 150 years, and the range of time in which an upward trend is apparent is perhaps the last 30 years. Is that a long enough time period to gauge a trend?

On the other hand, looking closely at the years since 1998, the trend seems to have leveled off or even dropped. Is that too short a time to gauge a trend?

Are the thermometers in enough places and the right places? Maybe we get too many readings from North America and too few from Antarctica, for example.

How do you get just one number for each year? How do you take all the temperature readings from all the thermometers and all the days and hours that temperatures were read, and get a single number?

If a computer algorithm is used to come up with the numbers, how sure are you that the algorithm did not add some artificial biases?

How do you compare temperatures over time? Weren't thermometers added, thermometers replaced, and whole new stations included? Are earlier readings comparable with later ones?

How do you know any given temperature reading reflects real climate, and not just what's happening near that temperature station? That is, do parking lots, buildings, air conditioners, etc. have a significant impact on thermometer readings?

Weren't all the thermometers used to make this graph on land? Doesn't that leave out the 75% of the earth's surface that is water?

If the warming trend were stark and obvious, the questions above would be less important. But one degree in a century? I can't feel one degree. I can't find two thermometers that agree that closely. The temperature regularly changes by 20 degrees or so every day where I live. On any given day at any given time, temperatures on the earth differ by more than 100 degrees F. What is signal and what is noise?

USS Scranton Returns Home

From the official Navy website, here's a picture of the return of USS Scranton (SSN 756) to Norfolk following a deployment to the Med, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Gulf as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group:

Now that's a picture of a boat that's been working hard. Welcome home, guys!

According to this story of the homecoming, the boat had liberty stops in Souda Bay, Bahrain, and Diego Garcia. I really hope that they stopped in more and better places than those. What's the worst set of port calls you've ever had on a "normal" deployment?

Stupid Rex Rammell Gets Punished

Idiot Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has been in the national news for making a "joke" about hunting President Obama. (Basically, he was at a picnic where the subject of wolf hunting tags came up, and someone in the audience asked about "Obama tags" and Rammell said "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those.") He doubled down on his idiocy by tweeting that "Obama hunting tags was just a joke! Everyone knows Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue tags in Washington D.C.", leaving open the implication that an Idaho under his leadership would have jurisdiction to issue licenses to shoot the President were he to come to the state. He then claimed that the "CIA" had contacted him about the incident; I assumed that was another one of his "jokes", in that the CIA doesn't handle this sort of thing -- the FBI and Secret Service do -- but then he repeated the bizarre claim at a press conference where he refused to apologize for the "joke", but instead demanded apologies from Republican leaders who had denounced his "joke", and insisted people should "lighten up" in general.

New West Boise has a great report on the press conference that includes some of the question-and-answer section. I wasn't able to attend as an intrepid citizen journalist because I had to work. Had I gone, here are some of the questions I would have asked:

"The Church to which you and I belong has as an Article of Faith that we 'believe in being subject to... presidents...'. Do you believe that you are subject to President Obama as the duly-elected President of the United States?"

"Many of those who share your beliefs say that 2nd Amendment gives them the right to violently overthrow the government using guns. Do you believe that as well?"

"How exactly would they use the guns to overthrow the government without shooting law enforcement officers and military personnel? Do you believe that the recent shooter of the soldiers in Arkansas was acting within his Constitutional rights when he used a gun to oppose government policies, or do you think that this right is only reserved for white Christians?"

"Do you realize that you're lying out your ass when you say that a Boise-based CIA agent contacted you about the incident?"

"If elected Governor (right after cute fuzzy rabbits come flying out of your butt), you may have National Guardsmen from Idaho sent to Afghanistan. Given this world map, can you identify Afghanistan?"

"OK, I admit, that's a tough one. Can you identify a single country on this map?"

"OK, so geography's not your strong point. One last question: In how many gay porn films have you appeared under the name 'Rex Rammer'. What, you don't like that question? It was a joke! Lighten up!"

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "What Sin Replaces Love?"

Can't Keep Up

I can't keep up with the insanity -- and it's not just me!

Too many Democratic congressmen behaving like jackasses for bloggers to keep up anymore


Not Everything About "The Old Days" Was Good

I like listening to classic rock; listening to the great songs of the '60s, '70s, and '80s is one of my favorite pasttimes. If your only knowledge of the music of that period comes from what you hear on radio stations today, you might think that music was a lot better back then.

If you do that, you'll be forgetting that the only songs that have made it to the "classic" radio stations are the best of the best. From the '70s, we forget about the horrible songs that actually dominated the airwaves back then: the insipid "Billy, Don't Be A Hero", the banal "You Light Up My Life", and the indescribably horrible "One Tin Soldier". Lastly, don't forget this one:


Where does the time go?I've had my hands full, and blogging has been even lighter than usual lately. I'm hoping to be posting more regularly again after September 12th. I have several posts on torture in the works (no surprise). In the meantime, consider perusing the many excellent blogs on my blogroll...